As Americans continue to have their eyes bathed in blood daily, waking up to find out what circle of fresh hell we’ve descended to, Jungle Rot decided they’d better make their best record yet, because the world is gonna burn.
The Kenosha, Wisconsin-based death metal band, celebrating 25 years and 10 albums, returned with an eponymous 10-song effort on July 20 via Victory Records.
Following up 2015’s Order Shall Prevail, frontman Dave Matrise says Jungle Rot is the culmination of a quarter-century of shredding. “It’s a masterpiece in my mind,” he shares. “It’s, by far, the best work we’ve ever done. I think people are gonna agree when they hear it.”
The band—Matrise, lead guitarist and vocalist Geoff Bub, and bassist James Genenz—reenlisted drummer Jesse Beahler and returned to work with producer Chris Djuricic. “Having Jesse on it means everything. I mean, he’s one of the best drummers I’ve ever played with,” Matrise admits. “I wrote two of the best albums I’ve ever done—[2011’s] Kill On Command and [2013’s] Terror Regime—with him. Recording with him is the best.”
Punishing slabs of metal like “Send Forth Oblivion,” “Delusional Denial,” and “A Burning Cinder”—see also: Earth’s fate—begin Jungle Rot’s sonic assault.
Jungle Rot reached out to Dan Swanö of Nightingale—who has worked with bands such as Marduk, Nasum, and many others—to handle the mixing and mastering. “Working with Dan, I think it was a blessing as well,” Matrise says. “With Chris, we’ve been mixing and mastering all of ’em. After Order Shall Prevail, I kinda started seeing the light: they all started sounding the same, in my opinion. I think we needed some new ears in there, and, again, Dan is amazing when he does his work.”
“I couldn’t be happier,” Matrise adds. “It’s hot as hell. I mean, you can hear every little thing going on. It just makes you want to turn it up every time you listen to another song, that’s for sure.”
For Matrise, having Destruction vocalist and bassist Marcel “Schmier” Schirmer sing on “Fearmonger” was one of the highlights of not only the album but his career. “Oh! It was like a dream come true!” he replies with sheer happiness when asked about the guest spot. “Who would’ve thought, 25 years into my career, I’d have Schmier singin’ my music? It’s something I dreamed about when I’d just started, man!”
The collaboration was born out of Jungle Rot touring with the legendary German metal band in 2017. In 2009, Jungle Rot honored Destruction with a cover of “Invincible Force” from the band’s 1985 debut LP, Infernal Overkill, on their own full-length, What Horrors Await. While on tour, the band welcomed Matrise onstage to sing it. “At the end of the night, we’d go, ‘Damn, our voices sound so good!’ We just loved it,” he recalls. “I was writing the album at the exact same time, and I said, ‘I’d love to have you be a part of it! You gotta be a part of it! I’m gonna write this song; I’m really gonna keep it thrash, this Destruction kinda feel!’ I was just determined to do it.”
Jungle Rot also honor another big influence by closing the new album with their version of “Terrible Certainty” from Kreator’s 1987 LP of the same name.
That aforementioned determination to just “do it” is exactly what has brought Jungle Rot to this point. “It’s brutal out there on the road. It really is. It takes a very special person to do this kind of work,” Matrise admits sincerely, almost as a warning. “Most importantly, you gotta find the right people who share the same dreams and goals that you want—in life and in music. That’s the hardest thing: finding a core band that can stick together. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had Jim and Geoff with me now for almost 15 or 16 years, and that’s what really kept it goin’.”
“I never thought I’d make it to see 10 albums,” he concludes. “That’s kind of amazing in itself.”